9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
- I Peter 2:9-10
In another lesson, I spoke to you about the most important event in history. The Resurrection - Divine Messiah, Establishes Faith, Hope for Eternal Life. This morning I want to talk to you about the most important thing in the world. You may think it is family, health, happiness and all of these are very important but more important than these is the church. In God's eyes the most precious and beautiful thing in all of creation is the church of Christ (God's people, the saved, the body etc.).
Why the Church is Important
1. The Value of the Church
We determine the value of something by its cost.
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
- Acts 20:28
The church cost the blood of Christ. This price is beyond any amount of money or human sacrifice because the blood/life of Jesus is perfect and eternal.
The intrinsic value of Jesus' life is beyond anything in creation. The value of gold and diamonds can be compared or measured but there is nothing else on earth that cost a perfect and eternal life to purchase. All the money or souls cannot equal Jesus' life.
The church is important because it is the most valuable thing in existence. Even the creation of Adam did not require the life of Christ as payment. God did not sacrifice as much for any other thing as He did to establish the church.
2. Purpose of the Church
It has an important purpose. Nothing else in the world does what the church does.
but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.
- I Timothy 3:15
The church is responsible for maintaining and spreading the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is truth in books and colleges and all kinds of organizations and institutions but only the church has been given the mandate to guard and proclaim the basic truth that can save a person's soul, give them eternal life. The church is important because it has been given the most important role to play in all of history - to reveal the truth about God's offer of salvation to man through Jesus Christ. A unique task of the church.
Involved in good works, caring for ourselves, organizing our affairs but our purpose is to be a witness to this dark world concerning the truth. No one else has this great responsibility from God (Acts 4:12). Political activist and governments see themselves as guardians of the earth, freedom or democracy - but only the church guards the truth.
3. Destiny of the Church
It has an important destiny. The importance of someone or something is sometimes measured by its relationship to other important people or institutions. For example, if your sister is the Governor of the state you may have certain benefits from her position.
11 It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
- II Timothy 2:11-12
No matter what condition the church finds itself in here, in this world, (poor, young, small, ignored etc.) its final position - relationship will be at the right hand of God ruling with Christ over all powers, Spirits (even angels) kings and authorities forever and ever.
The church is important because no other person or organization has been promised such a position by God. We're not just related to some politician - we're with God in heaven.
No other organization is connected to God in such a dynamic and intimate way.
- Connected organically: "Body of Christ" – Colossians 1:18
- Connected socially / emotionally: "God's household" – Ephesians 2:19
I preach sermons with the hope that they will fulfill certain spiritual needs. This lesson was given so that you might become aware of how truly important the church is to God. This congregation is the most important thing in this town. Better everything else shut down before this church does. Because it is the most important thing to God we need to remember several key things:
1. We cannot please God, serve God, outside of the Church.
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
- Hebrews 10:23-25
In other words you cannot abandon the church and think your going to serve God on your own, in your own way. Our value, role, destiny is lived and developed within the context of the church; it is the only place where Christ is. If you're outside of the church, you're outside of Christ and His purpose for you.
2. Belonging to the Church and being saved is the same thing.
praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
- Acts 2:47
When you refuse to be part of the church, you refuse salvation. When you are cut off from the church because of sin you are cut off from Christ and His salvation as well. You cannot be a "body member" without being a member of the body
When Jesus returns He is coming for the church - the faithful church. The unfaithful (those who've been cut off, dropped away, or never added) will perish in everlasting flames - II Thessalonians 1:6-10). Those who believed that Jesus is The Son of God, repented and baptized will rejoice others will suffer.
3. You will never fully experience the joy and peace that comes from knowing God and Jesus Christ until you begin loving and serving His Church.
In II Timothy 4:5-8 it says I believe Paul could face a cruel and unjust death with joy and confidence because he was assured that in giving up his life for the church, he was offering it for something that was:
- Priceless in value - so his life was not wasted
- Unique in purpose - so his life had meaning
- Eternal in destiny - so he had hope beyond this life
Not just a moment that would perish in this life. His life was intertwined with the life of the body and if the body were eternal, so would be his life. How many of us spend so much of our time searching for meaning, purpose and direction for our lives in the things of this world and continuously come up short à dissatisfied, disillusioned, discouraged, and depressed?
When will we learn that these yearnings for a meaningful, valuable, eternal contribution of our life and talents can only be satisfied in service to God's church?
The church is the most important thing in the world and because this is so we cannot be saved, cannot please God or reach our full potential outside of it. At this time therefore, I offer four invitations on behalf of the church:
- If you're not a member of God's church we encourage you to allow Christ to add you to His Household through repentance and baptism.
- If you've fallen away from the body because of neglect or sin (You could be sitting in the building but separated from the body) and wish to be restored, please come forward and repent and be received back into the loving arms of Jesus.
- If you are a baptized believer and are new to this area and would like to identify yourself with our congregation and give us the right hand of fellowship, please come and do so now.
- If you need the prayers of the church for any reason - please make yourself known.
Whatever your need let the church minister to you now.